People often ask me how I happened to choose the pen name OyaSophia. I was actually pretty deliberate about it. I wanted to be inspired by the stories and images of Goddesses. Since I knew nothing about Goddesses, I did some research.
Oya is the Yoruban Goddess of storms (or fierce winds or tempests). She is often depicted handling a tornado or some lightning. She is all about change and transformation. She is a Warrior Queen. What a wonderful muse for a writer! Oya is also a nurturing, protective mother. Anyone who has been a mother knows the overwhelming power you feel when you believe that your child is in danger. We would do anything to protect our babies. This is the power of Oya. But by herself, she was a bit too fierce. So I added Sophia.
Sophia is the Gnostic Goddess of wisdom. She is often presented as the most grounded of the divine. In the Gnostic Gospels found in Nag Hammadi, she was presented as the third manifestation of God, but was later altered to remove her feminine identification and transformed into what we now think of as "The Holy Spirit". (She also appears in many other religions, but is most powerful and wise in the Gnostic tradition.) Some people believe that Leonardo Da Vinci painted her just to the right of God in that famous Sistine Chapel painting that shows God reaching out his hand to Jesus. Go take a look!
Together, Oya and Sophia represent wisdom that comes from going through a storm. I often write to try to make sense of situations that I have weathered. I'm eager to learn.
Goddesses are symbols of the divine aspects of the feminine. Too often, women disappear from religious stories, or are regulated to minor roles. Any woman who has made it past childhood can tell story after story after story of women who have transformed situations, who have persevered, who have held each other up, who have swiftly and fairly meted out justice, who have stood tall in the face of danger, fear, the unknown or simply in the face of change. We know, instinctively, that women are powerful. I love the Goddesses because they represent our feminine power.
When I see the name OyaSophia on my blog title, it inspires me and humbles me. I am more careful about what I say. I am more aware of the responsibility I have as a woman and as a writer. It can't just be about me. My writing has to also be about how the reader may or may not be transformed. I hope that I am inspired by Oya and Sophia. I also hope that the inspiration will reach through my words and inspire others to be in touch with their creative side!